I find it hard to write these days. There is so much unrest in the world and to be quite honest, unrest is not my jam. I prefer to focus on kindness, compassion and gratitude with a lighthearted bent and a sense of humor. The subjects I write about have depth but my silly prose can misconstrue them as light and fluffy. But you can’t paint light and fluffy on human suffering.
What do you write about when you feel your contribution of lightheartedness is not the appropriate offering? How do you be you and not minimize the suffering of others? How do you speak up when you know it’s not your voice that should be heard?
My Little Brush with Racism
I know a little of racism…very little. My interaction with racism involves a family history of Japanese internment camps, being present for some unpleasant ethnic jokes and having someone ask “What is she?” (meaning my ethnic background) like I’m a pedigree of dog. At the start of COVID, my daughter was the source of consternation when a mother cautioned her child to stay away from “that Chinese girl.” Minor small-minded irritations and generational silence. Not centuries of oppression and cruelty, not needing to fear for my life in my own neighborhood from those who are employed to protect life and not trying to exist in a system designed to keep me down.
Ineffective is what I have felt.
I’ve decided to do the only thing I know right now. I’m acknowledging my powerlessness and leaning towards awareness. This is not my march to lead. I can only offer myself to those who have been marginalized to serve in whatever guise required. To the black community, I say: If you need my solidarity, you have it. If you need me to educate myself, I am doing it. If you need to shout your story, I will listen. If you need me to recognize my own racial bias, I will continue to strive to do better.
The biggest things\ that has come out of all this for me is my sheer ignorance. I have work do. Being respectful of human life and trying to be a good person has never been enough. Time to put on the big girl pants and stop shying away from hard subjects.
I think it’s okay to feel powerless and ineffective for a time. When I feel powerless and ineffective, the next step is to find ways to regain my power and be effective. There are some great resources out there on anti-racism, and it makes me feel heartened to see I’m one in a very long list of people on the list for many of these books at our local library.
And I will continue to spread my message of acceptance, kindness, compassion and gratitude because that is necessary too…just not today.
Brene Brown Unlocking Us Podcasts – Austin Channing Brown and Ibram X. Kendi